San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he's standing behind his decision to stay seated Friday during the national anthem.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick later explained in an interview with NFL Media.
When it was time to stand for the national anthem at the start of the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday night, Kaepernick stayed on the bench while his teammates all stood.
The 28-year-old football player says that was his way of taking a stand against police killings.
"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
While some people have been cheering him on for speaking out...
Colin Kaepernick speaking up... Meanwhile that QB who dabbed all last season said America is past Racism— EL FOOSAY (@SheHatesJacoby) August 27, 2016
... others are calling for the 49ers to let him go.
So, could he face a suspension or other serious repercussions? The NFL says, no.Here is the NFL's official response to Kaepernick's decision: The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
NFL statement on Colin Kaepernick: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 27, 2016
The NFL also added: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."
Kaepernick says he expected backlash, but at the end of the day it's worth if it can create some kind of change.
"This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick told NFL Media.
"I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."